We have cloned and characterized a 55-kb region of DNA surrounding HRAS1. It contains a cluster of two, and possibly three, genes associated with CpG islands within the 32 kb immediately upstream of HRAS1. We have sequenced cDNAs representing one of these genes, provisionally designated HRC1. The locus, which is located 29 kb upstream of HRAS1, is divergently transcribed. HRC1 cDNA probe recognizes fragments on Southern blots of DNA from other vertebrate species. In human DNA, multiple homologous fragments are detected in addition to the predicted ones containing HRC1. Therefore, this locus may represent a member of an evolutionarily conserved gene family. HRC1 expression is upregulated with HRAS1 in the EJ bladder carcinoma cell line, suggesting the possibility of coordinate regulation. The deduced translational product of the longest open reading frame (1119 nucleotides, 373 amino acids) predicts a protein with regions rich in glutamine and proline and a region similar to the helix-loop-helix motif adjacent to a carboxy-terminal leucine zipper dimerization motif with four heptad repeats. Alternate splicing of terminal exons occurs, resulting in the truncation of one proline-rich domain and preservation of the leucine zipper. Thus, a biologically important region of chromosome 11p consists of a gene cluster. At least one of these genes, in addition to HRAS1, may be involved in regulation of cell growth or differentiation.
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